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Afghanistan: UN mission condemns suicide attack against army

29 September 2005 Condemning “in the strongest terms” yesterday’s suicide attack against Afghan soldiers in Kabul, the United Nations mission today called on the people of the strife-torn country to rally round the national army as an essential element in restoring stability.

“The Afghan National Army (ANA) has played a key role in creating a safe environment for the 18 September elections and, since its creation, has been increasingly effective in promoting the country’s stability and defending the population against extremist violence,” the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said in a statement.

“We therefore take this opportunity to pay tribute to all the soldiers and officers of the ANA that have laid down their lives in the accomplishment of their mission. We trust that the people of Afghanistan will find in yesterday’s attack yet another reason to reject violence and rally in support of the national army,” it added.

In another development, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) has produced a public service announcement video against child marriage, to air on television and radio.

The 80-second video, supported by the Afghan Ministry of Women’s Affairs, will be broadcast twice a day, in the evenings, for three months.

A UN human rights expert earlier this year reported that most people she spoke to in Afghanistan pointed to forced and child marriage as the primary source of violence against women.

“In addition to being in themselves serious forms of violence, forced and child marriages in combination with polygamy considerably increase the likelihood that women will be subjected to violence within the family, including sexual violence by significantly older males,” the Special Rapporteur of the UN Commission on Human Rights on Violence against Women, its Causes and Consequences, Yakin Ertürk, said in July after a 10-day visit.

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